Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Haggadah for the Curious – 3, Perfect Addition to Our Collection

Haggadah for the Curious – Volume 3 by Rabbi A Levin will be very welcome at our Seder. Rabbi Levin has miraculously managed to compile a variety of commentary, comments and questions that will interest all ages and all levels of Jewish knowledge and observance. Call it your "ONE SIZE FITS ALL" Haggadah.

Besides the fascinating content, I really enjoy the simple graphics and large, legible print. That's especially good for those of us whose eyesight isn't what it used to be and for the young children and grandchildren new to reading. Of course, in a few years it'll probably be stained with wine as all well-used family Haggadot are.

Here's a sample page.
Instructions are clear, even to those not experienced with the Passover Seder or forget details from year to year.

Commentary is in the form of questions and answers which guides the Seder leader in helping others at the table to think and ask even more. Of course, anyone at the Passover Seder may ask questions and add his/her two cents, inspired by the commentary in Haggadah for the Curious – 3. A Passover Seder is not supposed to be a performance; it's more like a Beit Medrash, Jewish Study Hall where people discuss and even argue. We're commanded to think and talk about what happened to the Jewish People thousands of years ago when leaving Egypt and not doze off as "head of the house" drones on. The lessons learned are valuable for all time, meaning today, too.

As I was reading through Haggadah for the Curious – 3, I almost immediately learned something new. Growing up in a minimally traditionally Jewish home, we never leaned over when drinking the seder wine or eating the ceremonial matzah. We read the narrative up to the meal and not all of the instructions. Actually we only drank two cups, since we didn't continue the seder after the meal. Early in the Haggadah Rabbi Levin gives a lot of detail about the "leaning" while drinking the wine and eating the matzah. After saying that 45 degrees is important, he then reminds us that being in pain cancels that out. I like the common sense in that. One surprise is that the one who will lead the Seder should be the one setting up the Seder Plate, which should be done when standing and as a "ceremony" announcing the items as he places them down. I had never heard that before.

In Haggadah for the Curious – 3, I also discovered a couple of completely new things to do with the wine poured for Eliyahu Hanavi. We have always kept it out and then poured it in the sink, forbidden for shmitta- kedushat shvi'it. According to Rabbi Levin, the Zachor L'Avraham 40:66 says to pour a little into the cups of all the seder participants, since it's segulah for health and healing. Suggestion #2 is to cover it overnight and then pour it back into the bottle and then use it for morning kiddush, according to Vayeged Moshe 30:5. What do you do with Eliyahu's wine? Where did you get your custom?

No doubt it's clear that I highly recommend buying In Haggadah for the Curious – 3 as a gift for yourself and/or others. It can be found in Judaica book stores or ordered from Mosaica Press or Feldheim.

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